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Put an End to a Night Time Ritual - Fighting 
 
by Karen Fifelski August 03, 2005

Getting children to bed on time can turn into a circus act that would do any big top proud. Parents need to arm themselves with compassion and information for handling pint-sized con artists. Learn the tricks to getting children to bed peacefully and on time-most of the time any way.

Every child throughout history has dreaded bedtime at some point. Every parent knows the frustration and sometimes even the anger that can be involved when trying to get tired children to give up and go to sleep. This is an age-old battle that will, more than likely, never end.

The Bedtime Dilemma

Children, especially small children, seem to have a knack for dragging out the act of going to bed. They are notorious for asking for water, one more story, a snack, a hug, a kiss, the potty, whatever will hold off bedtime for just a couple of more minutes. Meanwhile, even the most patient of parents can become irritated, more so if this is an every night event.

The Why

The fact that children do not want to go to bed is something that most parents understand. Parents are sympathetic to their children’s cries for a little more attention and affection. However, parents also know the importance of their children getting a good night’s sleep and the effect that not getting it can have on their children’s behavior the next day.

The fact that parents are so sympathetic to their children’s plight is what makes it so easy for kids to manipulate bedtime into the marathon sessions they often become. When a parent, tired from a long day, realizes the game they have unknowingly entered into, they too become irritated and upset with their child. At this point, there is not much that a parent wants more than to get their child to sleep and nothing that the child wants more than to stay awake. This turns bedtime into a battle of wills.

Becoming irritated and angry with a child when they are fighting bedtime only adds to the problem. This type of reaction does not tend to bring about the desired result of sleeping children. It does however bring the situation to a peak, the parent often ends up yelling at the child while the child is screaming and crying. This situation will not get the child to sleep.

Parents can unknowingly be the cause of some bedtime problems for their children. A snack before bedtime, if full of sugar can get a child hyper, making it almost impossible to fall asleep. Rough housing or wrestling before bedtime can make the parents tired, but it often has the opposite effect on children, making them so wound up that they could not go to sleep if they wanted.

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